How do I stop overthinking and questioning everything?

I just want to Let Go and Let God. I ponder on things and wonder why they did that or didn't do that or why they have to do this and not that. I have an AA sponsor and she repeats herself and tells me the same story 2 or 3 times. Why can't I just listen without frustration and judgement.
Asked by Serenity
Answered
11/29/2021

It is true that what is easy to say is not always easy to do. Sometimes, when coming from a position of already going through something, it is easy to simply repeat what was done without the deeper understanding of how to help another person go through their own process. Giving up power or control is the basis of many issues that we all go through. We do not like to think of the world as a place we cannot influence to better ourselves. In fact, we are taught to do everything we can to continue to shape and change our reality for the better. We set up ways to defend ourselves unconsciously from anything we do not think we are ready to deal with. These are termed "defense mechanisms" and there are many of them. These defense mechanisms are put in place to protect ourselves in the moment, but they continue to stay activated and end up doing more harm than good if not examined. We are safeguarded from an aspect of reality we are not ready to handle until we have the skills and confidence to challenge that. Without getting there on our own, an outside voice telling your mind to give up those safeguards is going to be met with a lot of resistance. Your mind does not feel ready to Let Go and Let God. Intellectualizing helps to distance ourselves from our emotions. You may have this unconscious defense mechanism set up, because a part of you does not feel ready to give up that control. Maybe you don’t yet feel confident in yourself or the process of “letting go”. To challenge this, work with your defenses, not against them. First, accept your resistance for what it is and that it once and maybe now has a purpose. It is telling you that some part of you is not ready. Is there something you are not ready to face? In recovery, we start to realize that drugs and alcohol kept us away from something in reality we did not want to face. Unfortunately, whatever that is does not go away. Drugs and alcohol are their own type of defense mechanism. Instead of dealing with a particular trauma, guilt, depressions, anxiety, or other aspect of life drugs and alcohol allow a person to escape reality for a moment. When that use becomes long-term there is no actual coping skills gained to start dealing with that reality. In recovery, those forms of escape leave us high and dry to deal with reality on our own. Next, begin increasing self-awareness. Therapy is a great way to do this, work with your therapist to gain more self-awareness. Find a counselor that challenges your thoughts and helps you find your motivation and work towards your goals. Keep a daily journal of struggles, successes and goals. Writing things out helps to clarify those questions that keep coming up. It physically tiring to keep writing all those thoughts and questions that go through our head and the answers to them. Journaling and writing disrupts the process. Meditation can also improve your ability to listen without judgement and anxiety . Mindful meditation is a skill that not only improves insight and awareness but also helps quiet the mind. When we feel calm and relaxed, our mind does not kick into overdrive so easily and frustration and judgment are not as easy to come to. Start developing healthier coping skills that work for you. The most important thing I can say about coping skills is to figure out what they are before you need them. Think about them now, not while feeling frustrated, lonely, angry, or stressed. Coping skills that are healthy include walking, being outside, reading a book, talking to a supportive friend, exercise, hobbies, writing, journaling, singing, taking a bath, etc. Determine what helps you calm down and feel ready to take on the next challenge. Write out goals you have for yourself and check back on them often. Many times we are trying to achieve something (like hearing a story and believing it without question) but we do not know why we are doing it or what we will get out of it when we do it. By writing out and daily checking in with the goals we set for ourselves, we increase the motivation to work on them, even the ones that are not easy or fun to do every day. Actively question and challenge your own thoughts. If you hear yourself pondering and questioning and feeling frustrated, challenge your beliefs. Ask yourself what underlying belief you hold that leads to that frustration. Allow yourself to be frustrated and accept that you are frustrated by a part of life that you cannot change. Eventually you will get to the place where the resistance stops being useful and you are able to let go of it and feel confident that you now have the skills to move forward, working towards goals, and feeling better. You may find that what you were originally trying to hear was not very good advice for you. Maybe it is said in a way that feels judgmental and not supportive, just the way you are feeling frustrated hearing it. The good news is that by working in these areas you have a better headspace to allow other people to give advice while having the awareness and insight to decide what works best for you.